What a change in the weather today, it was positively spring like. Mild, calm with muted sunshine. Quite pleasant.
First things first, me and Bunts down to Boulmer for her ablutions. We just walked the beach north in front of the pub. The tide was well in but the sea was like a mill pond. On the shore 23 Bar tailed Godwits were noteworthy and a Snipe flushed from the seaweed. A single Grey Wagtail was running around the rocks below the seawatch seat.
After a late breakfast (lunch) the three of us headed further afield to Harwood Forest. Rumours of a Great Grey Shrike here had me looking for a needle in the proverbial without luck. The forest was cold and grey with a cutting breeze, quite unlike the coast. We did a good lap around tracks between Fallowlees Lough and Chartners.
The woods were ringing to the sound of Crossbills. We had easily 70+ in groups of up to 25 birds. Some showed very well on the ground gritting and drinking from pools formed under wind blown trees. One male was bedecked with wing bars ( creamy narrow and nowt like leucoptera ) and there were a few immature golden yellow birds. Several males were singing and song flighting around stands of pines. In flight they have a very distinctive jizz very unlike similar sized finches such as Greenfinch. They are long winged and short tailed with a flappy sparrow like shape as they go over. Great birds.
Also around here were a flock of a dozen Bullfinches feeding on heather, 2 Great spotted Woodpeckers, 1 Jay, 1 Redpoll sp, a couple of Siskins and a Roe Deer caught the attention of one shot jawed terrier with ideas above her station...
63. Grey Wagtail.